Do you have an Android smartwatch running Android Wear 2.0, or looking to get your hands on one soon? Here are some of the best Android Wear watch tips and tricks to try out along with advice on which device should be your next smartwatch.
We might not have humanoid robots and flying cars parked in our garage just yet, but there are certain tech gadgets that science has delivered. The mobile devices we carry around every day are smarter than ever, and now the tech industry has taken the concept of portable smart devices to a whole new level.
Smartwatches and wearable tech have already become a market worth billions, compelling even Google to create Android Wear watch OS for these devices. With the second iteration of its wearable software just being publicly released, there are tons of Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks just waiting to be discovered.
Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks
The update was first rolled out for LG Watch Sport/Style and Huawei Watch 2, while most of the latest smartwatches are just now beginning to receive Android Wear 2.0. Whether you’re a pro smartwatch user who knows their way around Android Wear or just bagged one of the new smartwatches, there are plenty of new elements packed with Android Wear 2.0 that you need to know about.
1. Android Wear now has Google Play Store
One of the biggest caveats of having an Android Wear watch was that you always had to be connected to an Android phone to use it. However, Android Wear 2.0 brings along the ability to set up your smartwatch as an individual device by adding your Google account when you set up the device.
If you don’t know already, the biggest feature that the latest update brings is the entire Google Play Store to your smartwatch. This means you can not only access apps directly on your smartwatch, but also download new ones and use them without being chained down to your Android phone.
2. New and improved Quick Settings
The Quick Settings panel has become an inseparable part of the Android ecosystem, but the same couldn’t be said about Android Wear watch, until now. The latest update brings along a revamped Quick Settings panel which can be accessed right away from the watch face by swiping down on the screen.
Instead of sending you to the Settings app and scrolling through the options, Android Wear 2.0 puts all the bare essential toggle options in a single place. Toggle buttons for airplane mode, silence, theater mode, Do Not Disturb, and Settings option have been added to the Quick Settings panel, along with network, battery percentage, and date indicator.
3. Google Assistant comes to Android Wear watch
Already a highly acclaimed part of the Android OS since its release alongside the Google Pixel, Google Assistant replaces the typical voice commands with a smarter alternative. Simply speak out “OK Google” or long-press the power button on your Android smartwatch to launch Assistant and ask away.
If you don’t have Google Assistant on your Android phone and don’t know what it can do already, just swipe up on the Assistant screen and you will be greeted with suggestions on how to use your personal voice assistant the right way. You can also head over to Settings > Assistant > Settings to configure and personalize Google Assistant the way you want.
4. Use Android Pay with your smartwatch
One of the coolest Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks includes the newly added feature of Android Pay smartwatch app, the ultimate mobile payment solution. All you need to do is download the Android Pay smartwatch app to your device, sign in with your Google account and set things up for contactless payments.
By adding your credit or debit card to the Android Pay smartwatch app and syncing the details to your Android wearable, you can zap your way through the cash counter without even pulling out your Android phone. Imagine how cool you would seem when you pay for your next coffee with just your app watch!
5. Customize the Android Wear apps menu
While you can’t really create folders and rearrange the layout of the Android wear apps drawer on your smartwatch yet, there is some customizable that the latest update offers. Instead of scrolling limitlessly through dozens of apps on the tiny screen, Android Wear 2.0 enables you to pin your favorite Android Wear apps to the top of the list.
In order to add a certain app to the top of the app list, press and hold the icon and it will automatically have brought up the queue with a star symbol right next to it. Moreover, your recently used apps will always be placed at the top of the Android Wear app list in case you want to access it again right away.
6. Two new keyboards for typing
You probably aren’t looking forward to having long and meaningful conversations while texting from the tiny screen of your smartwatch. However, for all those times when you want to send a one-liner reply, Android 2.0 has two interesting keyboards for you to try out.
Instead of seeming like a crazy person while talking to your watch to send a reply, you can now send a text using the tiny keyboard. It might not be perfect, but it gets the job done and you always have the option to use the second keyboard that allows you to jot down your words on the screen and the handwriting recognition tool turns it into texts.
7. Self-configure the hardware buttons
When it comes to hardware buttons, not every Android Wear watch follows the same pattern. For instance, the Moto 360 has just one hardware button, whereas LG Watch Sport has three, so Android Wear 2.0 gives you the ability to configure the extra hardware buttons the way you want.
Head over to Settings > Personalisation on your Android smartwatch and you’ll find the “Customize hardware button” option hidden in there. Using this feature, you can set up the extra hardware buttons to activate Google Assistant or launch a certain game on your Android Wear watch with just the click of a button.
8. New watch face complications
Taking inspiration from the always-on display that offers notifications and additional details without turning the screen on, Android 2.0 brings along “complications”. This new feature allows you to add an app or information shortcuts right on the main screen for you to glance at right away.
To configure the complications, long press the watch face and add select each app icon that you’d like to add to the watch face. For instance, you can select the Calendar app to add it to your watch face and show up your next marked appointment right on the main screen, or you would select Google Fit and it would highlight your daily steps on the watch face.
Best Android Wear watches
Ever since its inception in 2014, Android Wear has been accepted and integrated by major manufacturers in the tech industry. As Google prepared for the release of Android Wear 2.0, so did several top brands, which brings us to this list of the best Android Wear watches available in the market today.
Best Overall – LG Watch Sport
This smartwatch is the one Google chose to unveil Android 2.0 to the world, and the device sure lives up to the expectations. Crammed with every feature you could expect from a modern-day smartwatch, LG Watch Sport packs a decent sized AMOLED display, built-in GPS, IP68 rating for water resistance, and support for Android Pay.
While rolled out at a price of $349 makes it a premium Android Wear watch, it comes with a high-end build quality to make up for it. Moreover, LG Watch Sport battery life is above average and comes with a Nano-SIM slot for LTE connectivity, which along with the latest Android Wear 2.0 OS makes it a standalone device with full connectivity.
Feature packed – Huawei Watch 2
A straight-up competition to the LG Watch Sport battery life with an almost similar capacity, Huawei’s second try at the Android watch genre hits all the right spots. Available in Classic and Sport editions, this smartwatch packs a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 21000 processor that the LG Watch lineup possesses.
While packing all the same Android Wear 2.0 goodness and hardly any difference in terms of specs, Huawei Watch 2 is also tagged at $349. While the same LTE connectivity, virtually similar hardware and an iconic look of its own, Huawei Watch 2 does not have a scrolling side button like the LG Watch series, which some might not even be bothered about.
Best design – LG Watch Style
Google and LG paired up to release Android Wear 2.0 this time around, and there were two offerings available – LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. Designed with smaller size profile that to support its “Style” quotient, the LG Watch Style packs a 1.2-inch display with lesser RAM capacity of 512MB, compared to the 768MB of the Sport.
Offering just one hardware button instead of the three that the Sport version packs, the biggest caveat comes in the form of its battery, which has been toned down to 240 mAh, which is considerably lower than the LG Watch Sport battery life. If you are in search for a slimmer smartwatch that still packs a powerful punch, the LG Watch Style is the one you cannot miss out on.
Most affordable – Moto 360 Sport
Released shortly after the Moto 360 2015 edition, Moto 360 sport packs all of the same firepower as its predecessor, but with an added sporty look. Equipped with the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and an adequate 300 mAh battery capacity, this 1.37-inch smartwatch has enough elements to give you a surreal Android Wear 2.0 experience.
Despite being a solid product with built-in GPS capabilities, the Moto 360 Sport does lack features like a sound speaker and LTE connectivity. However, if you don’t have much love for such battery-gobbling features in the first place, the $199.99 (and lower) price tag is sure to keep you interested in this Android Wear watch.
Best for fitness – Polar M600
Albeit every Android Wear smartwatch comes with a set of fitness tracking features built into it, but things get a whole lot serious when it comes to Polar M600. Packing a GPS tracker, an IPX8 water resistance rating, and a dual-core MediaTek MT2601 processor, this fitness tracking smartwatch will go the extra mile every time.
While Google Fit mostly keeps a track on running, Polar M600 is powered by its very own Flow app which tracks anything from swimming, rowing, hiking, jogging and more. However, the most impressive feature of this $329 smartwatch is the mammoth 500 mAh, beating even the LG Watch Sport battery life, it should get you more than two full days of usage out of a single charge even with heavy use.
Wrapping it up
With Apple Watch continuing ahead as a strong competition and Samsung choosing to power its Gear smartwatches with its in-house Tizen OS, Google is prepping Android Wear 2.0 to go full steam ahead. As LTE smartwatches such as LG Watch grow in popularity and Google Play Store is available as a standalone app for Android Wear, the wearable fever is sure to go viral.
Are you among the privileged ones who already have an Android-powered smartwatch in their possession? Which one is your absolute favorite among the Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks we have listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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